Why we need more than just the EU carbon market to tackle industrial pollution

(EurActiv, 2 May 2019) Latest data shows that the market-based solution alone is not enough to cut carbon pollution from heavy industry in line with the Paris Agreement goals. A new industrial policy mix is needed to ensure Europe is on a pathway to net-zero carbon emissions by 2040, writes Agnese Ruggiero.

Agnese Ruggiero is a Policy Officer at Carbon Market Watch, an NGO working on the long-term decarbonisation of Europe.

Today, the European Commission is expected to release the final 2018 emissions data under the European Emission Trading System (EU ETS).

An analysis of the preliminary data conducted by the NGO Sandbag in early April already showed that overall between 2012 and 2018, the sectors covered by the EU ETS have reduced carbon emissions by 13%. This reduction is almost single-handedly a result of reduced energy generation from hard coal power plants.

Seven years of flatlining industrial emissions

Emissions from industrial installations in sectors like steel, cement and chemical production, on the other hand, have not declined since 2012.

This picture is worrisome, as with its 708 million tonnes of CO2 per year – corresponding to about 40% of all EU ETS emissions-, the resource and energy-intensive industry is the third largest climate polluter in Europe. The cement, chemical and steel sectors alone are responsible for almost 60% of these emissions.

It is clear that the numerous exemptions and free pollution permits included in the legislation have failed to make the EU ETS an effective tool to drive down emissions. This is especially true for the energy-intensive industries that receive too many free emission allowances. In fact, m

External link

EurActiv, 2 May 2019: Why we need more than just the EU carbon market to tackle industrial pollution